ARTICLES & NEWS

REAL ESTATE CONTRACTS ARTICLES

Disclosure of Gunnery Range is Required

By Christopher Combs | May 12, 2024

Question: We purchased our retirement home last August in far north Phoenix near the mountains. Our seller was an investor.  Thus, many of the seller’s answers on the Seller Property Disclosure Statement (“SPDS”) stated “unknown as never lived in house, buyer needs to do own research.” At that time of our home purchase we were unaware that the Ben Avery shooting range was across the freeway, although we went to the home several times before purchasing the home. We never heard gun shots as it was the middle of summer and 110 degrees. We are miserable in our retirement home…

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Mediation Required for Potential Foundation Problem with North Scottsdale Home

By Christopher Combs | March 31, 2024

Question: We signed a contract to sell our north Scottsdale home to a California buyer for $2.5 million. The buyer deposited $75,000 earnest money with the escrow company. At the final walkthrough the buyer “discovered” some new cracks in our Saltillo tile floor. The buyer then demanded the return of the $75,000 earnest money because of potential foundation problems. We have refused to release the $75,000 earnest money to the buyer because we think that the buyer just got “cold feet,” and is inventing potential foundation problems. Our escrow company said that under the purchase contract both of us now…

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Seller Not Required to Repair Sprinkler System

By Christopher Combs | January 28, 2024

Question: After we signed a purchase contract for a home in Chandler, we had a home inspection.  This home inspection showed that several underground pipes in the sprinkler system were broken. The seller refuses to repair the sprinkler system, but is willing to return our $25,000 earnest money. Can we make the seller fix the sprinkler system? Answer: Probably not. Under the standard AAR purchase contract, lines 191-192, the seller and the buyer agree that the home is sold in its present physical condition at the time of the execution of the purchase contract. Thus, your seller has no obligation…

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If the Buyer Learns that a Neighboring Home is a Short-Term Rental Home, the Buyer Can Get Earnest Money Back

By Christopher Combs | October 29, 2023

Question: In a recent column you said that if a seller and a buyer have a dispute about the validity of the sale of a home, the standard Arizona Association of Realtors purchase contract (“AAR Contract”) requires mediation before a seller or buyer files a lawsuit. We bought a home in Phoenix that we loved, but during the 10-day inspection period we learned that the home next door to us is a short-term rental home. We immediately demanded the cancellation of the AAR Contract and the return of our $20,000 earnest money. The seller says that, because the short-term rental…

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COVID Disclosure Requirements When Selling A Home

By Christopher Combs | September 17, 2023

Question: We signed a purchase contract to buy a Sun City home. A neighbor then told us that the seller’s husband had died from COVID two weeks ago. Our real estate agent then told us that this recent COVID death does not give us the right to cancel the purchase contract, because under Arizona law both the seller and the real estate agents had no obligation to disclose to us this COVID death two weeks ago. Can we cancel the purchase contract? Answer: A.R.S. § 32-2156 provides that the seller, or a real estate broker, is not required to disclose…

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Buyer’s Right to Cancel Purchase Contract Because of “Ghost Rumors”

By Christopher Combs | September 10, 2023

Question: In a recent column you said that a buyer could cancel a purchase contract for a home within the 10-day inspection period because of “neighborhood rumors about ghosts haunting the home.” Even worse, you said that the buyer could then get his $20,000 earnest money back! We are planning on listing our Sun Lakes home for sale at the end of the summer. If a buyer signs the purchase contract and then comes up with some phony “ghost rumors” reason to cancel the purchase contract and get their $20,000 earnest money back, will we have to go to court…

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Seller Wants Two-Week Extension to Close Escrow

By Christopher Combs | September 3, 2023

Question: My wife and I are first time homebuyers in our late 20s. We signed a contract to purchase a home in Chandler. The close of escrow is scheduled in two weeks. Our apartment lease ends in two weeks. The seller’s real estate agent just told us that the seller will not be able to move out in two weeks, and that the seller needs a 10-day extension of the close of escrow. Our landlord says, however, that another tenant is moving into our apartment in two weeks. Therefore, our landlord won’t extend our lease for even one day. What…

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Disclosure of Dog Park by Realtor After Close of Escrow

By Christopher Combs | August 27, 2023

Question: Two years ago we purchased a home in a subdivision of single-family homes in Mesa. At the time that we purchased our home, the Arizona Department of Real Estate subdivision public report given to us by the homebuilder said that the vacant land across the street from our subdivision would be developed into a similar subdivision of single-family homes. We recently received notification, however, that the City of Mesa is condemning this vacant land for a proposed dog park. When we contacted our real estate agent, she said that she did not have any knowledge of this proposed dog…

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